Kulothunga Chola I - An Eastern Chalukyan Prince Become King Of Chola Empire

Kulothunga Chola I - An Eastern Chalukyan Prince Become King Of Chola Empire
Kulottunga I was a Chola king who ruled between 1070-1122 A.D. He was not the legal family member of the Imperial Cholas established by Vijayalaya Chola. He was none other than Eastern Chalukyan prince Rajendra Chalukya. Let us understand who is Kulottunga I and what was his connection with Chola dynasty.

Kulothunga Chola I was the grandson of the great Chola king Rajendra Chola I. Rajendra Chola's sister Kundavai married king Vimaladitya of Eastern Chalukyan kingdom of Andhra. Their son was Rajaraja Narendra who married the daughter of Rajendra Chola named Ammangadevi, who gave birth to Kulottunga Chola  I. The wife of Kulottunga Chola was Madurantaki. After the death of Chola king Athirajendra Chola, there was unrest in the kingdom. Many eyes fell on Chola throne at this time. Many Pallava chiefs and many other opponents of Chola empire. Kullottunga recognised this and he captured the Chola throne and declared himself as the king of Chola empire in 1070 A.D.

Earlier in his life, on behalf of his maternal uncle Virarajendra Chola, Kulothunga Chola as a Chola prince conquered Sri Vijaya province Kedah. He also conquered Bastar in modern Chattisgarh.

After declaring himself as the emperor of Chola empire in 1070 A.D., he spent first few years of his reign suppressing the revolts inside the Chola empire. During his reign, the Cholas lost the control over Sri Lanka especially southern Sri Lanka. Southern Provinces declared themselves independent.

From the inscriptions, it is evident that Kulothunga waged two wars with Kalinga. When Kalinga  tried to establish their control over Vengi, Kulothunga involved and this was his first war with Kalinga. We know that the Cholas won the war and occupied southern parts of Kalinga. The second war took place when Kalinga failed to pay the annual tributes to Kulothunga Chola. This took place in 1110 A.D.

The Chalukyan king Vikramaditya VI always wanted to capture Vengi which was under the control of Chola empire ruled by Kulothanga Chola. In order to capture Vengi, he has to defeat Kulothunga Chola. This was the reason for the invasion of Vikramaditya VI on Chola empire on 1075 A.D. The two armies met at a place called Kolar. As usual the mighty Cholas very easily defeated Chalukyas and made them to flee. After the war, Somesvara II the brother of Vikramaditya  VI requested Kulothunga Chola to help him in regaining Chalukyan throne from his brother. Kulothunga agreed and attacked Vikramaditya VI and defeated him. Somesvara II was made the king of Chalukyan empire.

The Pandyans wanted to use the trouble situation of Chola empire during the accession of Kulothunga to Chola throne. They tried to re-establish Pandyan empire. After the war with Vikramaditya VI, Kulothunga concentrated on Pandyan issue. These revolts of Pandyas and also Cheras (Kerala territories) mean severe threat to existence of Chola kingdom. Kulothunga brutally defeated the giant combined armies of Pandyas and Cheras. The Suchindram temple inscription testify this war.

The Cholas had a very special interest on Vengi and from old times the Cholas were successful in maintaining control over Vengi. When Vijayaditya, the Vengi king died, Kulothunga brought Vengi under direct control of Cholas and appointed his son Rajaraja Mummudi Chola as viceroy of Vengi in 1076 A.D. In 1084 A.D., his other son Vira Choda was appointed as viceroy of Vengi.

Kulothunga maintained a very friendly relations with other countries including parts of Malaysia, Thailand and China. He encouraged trade with foreign countries which earned huge profits in return for Chola empire. He renamed Vishakapatnam port as Kulottungacolapattanam as carried trade operations from there.

He was tolerant towards other religions. He developed many temples in most of the villages of his kingdom. He built many Shiva temples. He appointed committees to watch over the renovating works of the temples. He made his son Vikrama Chola as co-regent in 1118 A.D. Vikrama Chola jointly ruled with his father till 1122 A.D. after which he succeeded his father Kulothunga Chola and became the next king of the great Chola empire. Due to the victories of Kulothunga, the Chola empire was safe for the next 100 years. 

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